Here is a summary report of the most recent Commission meeting on June 11 in Sacramento (from the Project Bobcat Facebook page), which was attended by a number of Morongo Basin residents:
The meeting of the California Fish and Game Commission took place on Thursday, June 11, 2015 in Mammoth Lakes, California. Attending the meeting was a strong contingent of bobcat trapping opponents who met to speak to the commissioners in support of a statewide ban for all bobcat trapping.
About a fourth of those in attendance supported trapping with some who were paid lobbyists speaking for hunting and trapping organizations.
Among the groups against trapping were representatives from the Center for Biological Diversity, Project Coyote, Project Bobcat, some animal rescue groups and citizens who support the protection of wildlife and natural resources. A group representing tribal Indians spoke with passion about the reverence and importance of all wildlife and they were joined by the Union for Wildlife protection. In all, the majority of the attendees were hoping to win protection for the cats.
The Commission was made of only three of the commissioners with Commissioners Rogers and Baylis absent. This left Commissioners Kellogg, Sutton and Hostler-Carmesin sitting as a quorum. With that, voting was based on only three of the commissioners and as such, some issues were not fully voted through when Commissioner Sutton refused to vote on the tricolor black bird endangered species listing. This only serves to show that the incomplete commission was unable to complete some of the business on the agenda.
When agenda item 29 was called, it was the last issue to be discussed. Since there were seventy speakers listed to speak, presiding vice president Kellogg decided that only one minute would be allowed to each speaker. With that, applause was his suggestion as a way for the audience to chime in with approval of the comments coming from those who spoke with points of their thoughts and opinions. Most of the speakers were unprepared for the short speaking time that cut them short of making their issues understood. Most could be seen to be quite frustrated with the process and expressed dissatisfaction about Kellogg’s ruling. After the meeting, several members of the groups supporting the bobcat trapping ban assembled and shared a moment of comradery while posing for a group picture.
Commitments were exchanged regarding a continued effort and plan to gather again for the August 5 meeting in Fortuna, CA when the Commission is slated to decide on the choice between two proposed plans currently on the agenda. The two choices are a statewide ban of all bobcat trapping or a zonal approach which will leave areas of California open where bobcat trapping is currently going on.
The next meeting is being planned by all involved and should prove to be the most attended to date with both sides of the issue pressing for their respective interests.
Check Project Bobcat's website for updates.